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The New South Wales Government has passed the Mining Amendment (Mineral Claims – Opal) Bill 2023 to remedy legacy issues and provide stability to miners and landholders.

The amendments are intended to remediate invalidly issued minerals claims as a result of errors in the administrative process between 1 January 2015 and 13 February 2023.

According to the NSW Government, these errors impacted over 3000 mineral claims and required some miners to cease all mining activities until the claims were validated.

The NSW Government has also refunded $587,000 in administrative fees as a result.

“The NSW Government recognises the importance of the opal mining industry to Lighting Ridge, White Cliffs and surrounding communities,” NSW Minister for Natural Resources Courtney Houssos said.

“Since the issue was uncovered, the NSW Government has worked to minimise disruption and provide certainty for those holding mineral claims, landowners and the community.

“Passing this legislation and launching this independent review are crucial steps as we continue to address this legacy issue.”

The review into the statutory framework for the administration and regulation of small-scale opal mining titles was opened in June of this year, with former Land and Environment Court judge and NSW Attorney General Terry Sheahan selected to lead the review.

“The process will canvass views across the industry, including miners, landholders and the broader community,” Sheahan said.

“The review will recommend a framework which provides stability and certainty for stakeholders.”